April is here!!  The snow has melted enough to reveal peeks of grass turning green in the warm sun and we can see daffodils and tulips poking up as a wonderful sign of spring. Spring is renewal - a new beginning. A new small business - an exciting start for those of us at the core of the 1634 Meadery.

In many ways it seems like forever since we sat in Dan's idling truck gazing at the rental property at 3 Short Street that would become the 1634 Meadery. So much time was spent WAITING for licensing, label approval, formula okays from the government and more. And now, barely 2 weeks until opening weekend (April 24 - 26th!!!), it now seems like a whirlwind, a fast and exhilarating roller coaster ride.

The tasting room work was fast and furious but the result, we think, is warm and inviting - it is something you must see. The bottling went very smoothly and we have conquered the label machine once and for all (forgive us if your label is slightly off center... it kind of reflects our personalities!). We are polishing the place up and will be ready for our first guests Friday, April 24 at 2 pm! Come by and learn about bees, honey, fermentation, mead, mead history and our production. Then, stay for a tasting!

Hope to see you there!

Here is the tentative schedule of events for our opening weekend!

(times subject to change - see our website for up to the minute changes)

Friday, April 24 (open 2-7):

          2 pm - grand opening (close at 7 pm)

          Tours and Tasting til 7 pm

Saturday, April 25 (open 1-7):

          1 pm Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting ceremony

          1:15 Music by homegrown Orville Giddings

          1:30 Tours and Tastings begin! All day!

          3:00   Keeping Bees - Q and A with Maggie Collins - one of the youngest members of the Essex County Bee Keepers Association

          TBA: Meet the Apiarist! Q & A with one of our honey suppliers and buy some local honey!

Sunday, April 26 (open 12-5):

          12 pm Tours and Tastings! All day!

          2:00 - 4 pm Music by Knotty Celtics

          3:00  Keeping Bees - Maggie Collins - one of the youngest members of the Essex County Bee Keepers Association

          TBA: Meet the Marshview Apiaries beekeeper!  Q & A with one of our honey suppliers from Ipswich!

So, back a year ago, when we actually decided to DO THIS THING and start a small scale commercial meadery, we had no idea how this was about to change our lives. But as we roll nearer to our 50 days to opening countdown, we reflect on how far we have come (and how far we need to go!). Our desire to share our passion for mead has demanded that we become "Jacks of all Trades" and learn so many new things!

Opening a small business is a crazy choice, and now, looking back, I think for choice for slightly crazy people! SO much to know and learn and do. Especially in the alcohol realm, state and federal guidelines take 28 hours a day, a gallon of sweat and 3 pints of blood to understand and follow to complete and submit paperwork correctly (and, mark our words, either you or they will have missed something - despite your greatest efforts, and time will be added to the turn-around....).

Decisions about labels have to be made; overall design, manufactures, paper stock, and sheen choices. Choices of bottle volume and shapes, dip waxes, wall colors, cork types, shelving and lighting design, T-shirt selections, logo creation, distribution boxes, stamps, bags, and so much more....

I tip my hat to anyone who has had the brim and vigor and guts to follow a dream and do what they LOVE. And even more kudos if the business is still standing after a year!

SO, can we give you a glimpse of what this all means? I will try!

Mead Man Dan has become the meadery's full time CEO, CFO, COO, lead tasting room reconstruction manager, head fermentation chemist, taste tester, director of day to day operations, accountant and comptroller, a dang good graphic artist, editor, facilities manager, quality control boss, web site designer and manager... And he remains a really awesome dad to our wonderful girls.

Besides still holding full time jobs as mom and high school science teacher, I have become lead label writer, editor, public relations manager, head marketing agent, and design staff, director of networking, social media administrator, and interior design is now on the resume. I assist with day to day operations, am lead custodian and food shuttler (yah gotta eat sometime!)!

What does all this mean? It means we sure wish we had 30 hours in a day to get everything done. It means we arise at 4:00 am because we cannot sleep. We sleepily wander downstairs to make coffee and write the blog that caused us to not sleep in the first place. Or review the "to do" list that seems to keep growing despite our best efforts to get stuff done. But, neither one of us would trade it for the world. Dan is so happy, the happiest I have seen him in a long time, because he is doing what he LOVES. He works for his passion. And how many of us can say that? And it makes me smile.

Who would have thought that starting a Massachusetts Farm Winery would be so much work?!  What seemed like a simple dream nine months ago has turned into a true obsession!  It all started by driving by the space for rent at 3 Short Street here in historic Ipswich, MA.  I had been thinking of starting a meadery for several years, but was going to do so out of my garage.  We looked at the space, and had to make a quick decision - is this the spot for us?  Do we want to make "the jump"?  After several industry leaders recommended to us that we would benefit from having a tasting room, the decision was a resounding YES!  So, after months of work we are finally close to opening, and the original concept of the space has been realized!  Come visit in April and see the finished product... and have a taste or two!  And fall in love with mead!  We did!



We received the majority of wood for the tasting room from a collaspsed barn in Mexico, Maine.  A day trip to rescue the wood was required, and we came back with a load of beams, doors and siding (and hopefully no termites!)